Top 5 Health Benefits of Beets + Nutrition Info and Fun Facts

Written by Christine Sexton, MPH, RD

If it has been awhile since you last tried beetroot (beets), you may want to consider eating this highly nutritious food more often!

Beetroots are high in antioxidants and fiber, and provides over one-fifth of the daily value of folate. Folate is a B vitamin with many critical functions, including the production of red blood cells and DNA.

Beets are delicious roasted in the oven, boiled, or even grilled. In addition to eating them on their own or in salads, you can also find recipes for breads and cakes that include beetroots.

Health benefits of beetroot include lower blood pressure, lower chronic inflammation, improved cognitive function, better cardiovascular health, and better performance during exercise.

Beets Health Benefits

1. Beetroots can lower your blood pressure

Many studies have shown that eating beetroots or drinking beetroot juice significantly reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (1, 2). This may at least partly be due to the fact that beetroot is rich in folate, a vitamin that is associated with decreased blood pressure (3). High blood pressure is dangerous because it can lead to stroke, kidney damage, heart failure, and many other problems.

2. Beetroots lowers chronic inflammation

Beetroot contains compounds called betalains. Betalains are powerful antioxidants, and also work to combat chronic inflammation. This is important because chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases, including obesity, liver disease, cancer, and arthritis (4, 5, 6). In one study, patients with osteoarthritis who were given betalain from beetroots had lower levels of inflammation and reported less pain than those given a placebo (7).

3. Beetroot may improve cognitive function

Beets are a great source of nitrate, which is converted by the body to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide increases blood flow throughout the body, including the brain. A study with older adults found that beetroot increased blood flow in the part of their brains critical to planning, organization, memory, and time management (4).

4. Beetroots benefit cardiovascular health

Studies have found that eating beetroot improves blood vessel function and decreases stiffness of the arteries that carry blood throughout our bodies (2, 8). This is important because arterial stiffness increases risk of heart attack, dementia, and death (9, 10). Eating beetroot, therefore, may lower our risk of cardiovascular diseases and death.

5. Beetroots can improve exercise performance

The increased levels of nitric oxide caused by beetroot not only increase blood flow, but also help strengthen muscle contractions. Many studies have shown that endurance athletes who supplement with beetroot juice tire less quickly and perform better than those given a placebo (11, 12). A study in trained cyclists found that beetroot juice supplementation improved performance by 0.8% in a 50-mile test (11). In competitive sports, an improvement of this magnitude is considered a critical difference.

Nutrient Info For Beets

Serving size: 1 beet

Top 10 Nutrients by %DV
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)22% DV
  • Manganese13% DV
  • Fiber9% DV
  • Potassium8% DV
  • Vitamin C7% DV
  • Magnesium5% DV
  • Iron4% DV
  • Phosphorus3% DV
  • Copper3% DV
  • Vitamin B63% DV
Table for Common Nutrients
Nutrient%DV
Calories 35 2%
Fat 0.1g 0%
Protein 1.3g 3%
Carbohydrate 7.8g 3%
Sugars 5.5g ~
Fiber 2.3g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Saturated Fats 0.022g 0%
Calcium, Ca 13.1mg 1%
Iron, Fe 0.7mg 4%
Potassium, K 266.5mg 8%
Magnesium, Mg 18.9mg 5%
Vitamin A, IU 27.1IU 1%
Vitamin C 4mg 7%
Vitamin B-12 0μg 0%

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database - Release 28.
See the complete nutrition facts with over 150 nutrients, or the nutrition facts comparison of Beets vs other foods.

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Beets Fun Facts

  1. Beetroot has been used as a natural medicine as far back as Roman times (13).
  2. Beetroot is commonly used in manufacturing as a food coloring agent known as E162 (14, 15).
  3. Beetroots come in a variety of colors, including deep red, golden yellow, and striped.
  4. If you buy beets with their leaves still attached, both leaves and roots will stay fresh longer if you cut the leaves off and store them separately.
  5. Roasting beetroots in a hot oven accentuates their natural sweetness. Toss them with a little oil and vinegar, feta cheese, and toasted walnuts for a delicious salad.
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Data Sources and References

    1. Blood pressure-lowering effects of beetroot juice and novel beetroot-enriched bread products in normotensive male subjects.
    2. Acute ingestion of beetroot bread increases endothelium-independent vasodilation and lowers diastolic blood pressure in healthy men: a randomized controlled trial.
    3. Folate intake and incidence of hypertension among American young adults: a 20-y follow-up study.
    4. Acute effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adults.
    5. Flavonoids as anti-inflammatory agents: implications in cancer and cardiovascular disease.
    6. Chronic immune activation and inflammation as the cause of malignancy.
    7. Influence Of Betalain-Rich Extract On Reduction Of Discomfort Associated With Osteoarthritis
    8. Beetroot juice improves in overweight and slightly obese men postprandial endothelial function after consumption of a mixed meal.
    9. Mechanisms, pathophysiology, and therapy of arterial stiffness.
    10. Inflammatory Markers for Arterial Stiffness in Cardiovascular Diseases.
    11. Influence of acute dietary nitrate supplementation on 50 mile time trial performance in well-trained cyclists.
    12. Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review.
    13. Nutritional and functional potential of Beta vulgaris cicla and rubra.
    14. Antioxidant activity and phenolic content of betalain extracts from intact plants and hairy root cultures of the red beetroot Beta vulgaris cv. Detroit dark red.
    15. In vitro effects of beetroot juice and chips on oxidative metabolism and apoptosis in neutrophils from obese individuals.